Lots of new tiny houses being built right now and Bill Brooks from the Central Valley in California has also started building a house for himself. Here is Bill’s story.
While I still plan on creating a blog, here is the background story for my tiny trailer house.
I am having fun building the trailer, and look forward to building more tiny houses some day. But for right now, I am focused on finishing this one.
I wanted to visit Alaska for a long time, but was not looking forward to the winter cold. I read an article last year that sparked my interest in the Southeast (panhandle) area. The area does not have the extreme winters as the rest of Alaska. Also, the summers are mild compared to California. I decided I would like to go there, spend some time, and decide if I liked it enough to move there.
I realized that the regular accommodations would cost too much (hotel, bed/breakfast, etc) for a long term stay. So, I began looking into purchasing an RV. Finding a good RV was difficult, as prices were quite high. I decided a trailer would best fit my needs. I could leave it somewhere, drive around as needed, and have a place to stay. Somewhere along the way while researching trailers, I began reading about tiny trailer houses. The more I read about these tiny trailer houses, the more I felt they would fit my needs. Better insulation, more space, and simple living. With this, an idea was born. I would build a tiny trailer house and travel for awhile.
The more I researched tiny trailer houses, the more web sites I discovered. Several were blogs about people building their own trailer house. This appealed to me, as I always wanted to build my own house. I also discovered several sites that showed builders, such as Jay Shafer (Tiny Tumbleweed Houses) and Bill Kastrinos (Tortoise Shell Home). These were a great start, but I wanted to build my own. I researched more and discovered the Sonoma Shanty. I really liked the design, but it was not on a trailer. I decided I would be building a Sonoma Shanty at some point (in Alaska or where ever I located), so I purchased the plans.
I was studying the Sonoma Shanty plans and determining how I could build it on a trailer. In the meantime, I was also researching more aspects of a trailer house, such as the electrical and plumbing systems. I did not find a lot of information on how to build these systems (and still have not), but I did discover Michael Janzen’s plans for the tiny solar house (Tiny House Design). Now here was a design that would accomplish two things at once, building a house and RV in one.
After that, things began to move along. I found a local trailer dealer, and got a good price on a 10,000 GVWR trailer. As soon as the trailer arrived, I began work on my tiny house on wheels. Since I did not have a blog, I created a Twitter account (@Brookswoodworks) and Facebook page (Bill Brooks) to update my progress. The rest, as they say, is history.
While I still intend to create that blog, most of my energies have been focused on building the house, as well as continuing research on the electrical and plumbing systems. I decided I wanted to make this house as self sufficient as possible. The electrical system will be based on batteries, and charged through solar and other means. There will be an inverter for those things that need 110 volts, such as a microwave, refrigerator, outlets, and lighting. There will be a shower and sink, but the toilet will likely be a composting one. The stove/oven combination will be propane. Even though the trailer will be well insulated, there will be a propane heater for warmth. The stove will be propane as well. I have not decided on the internal layout yet, but I will build the counters, shelves, and storage areas myself.
I have been working on this since early August 2009. There is much more to do, as I have only completed framing the walls so far. However, it is finally beginning to look like something. The next few weeks should show much more progress as the trailer finally takes shape. Thanks a lot to Kent and Michael for their support and encouragement along the way.
Thanks Bill for sharing your story. I will do an updated post when Bill has completed his home. It will also be featured on the Tiny House Journal site, plus when Bill gets his own blog up I will let you know.
by Kent Griswold (Tiny House Blog)
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